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5 Top Paying Careers in Sports Law

5 Top Paying Jobs in Sports Law

  • Professional Athlete Representative
  • Professional Sports Team Representative
  • Sports Union Attorney
  • Sports Arbitrator
  • State Agency Sports Law Attorney

The top paying careers in sports law are found in every aspect of sports. Whether a lawyer is representing an athlete, a team, or a union, the position of sports lawyer is recognized as an important and lucrative part of the sports arena. With the increase in the appeal of the sports venue across a hungry television audience comes a growing market for sports lawyers. The athlete is now as prized a client as the various organizations, businesses, and professionals that make up the support structure of the sports venue.

1. Professional Athlete Representative

The most visible and celebrated role of a sports lawyer is as a professional athlete representative. To become a representative of a professional athlete, or group of professional athletes, a sports lawyer must first become a lawyer. Most sports lawyers are top-notch lawyers of proven ability who gravitate toward the area of sports following a natural inclination. Sports lawyers negotiate salaries, interpret contracts, write contracts, and hold vigilant guard over the contractual obligations of the athletes they represent. A sports lawyer is compensated with a percentage of the athlete’s total package. The more athletes they represent, the more lucrative is the practice.

2. Professional Sports Team Representative

Professional sports teams carry extreme legal obligations that require the recruitment and maintenance of varied law representatives who cover athlete contracts, public relations, medical contracts, stadium mortgage or rental obligations, legislative lobby efforts, and so much more. The hunger of professional sports teams for sports lawyers is insatiable as new areas of expertise in the law gain importance with each year. A professional sports team representative who runs a specialized law department normally works with a lucrative retainer plus billable hours while those who are just starting to work under the administration of one professional sports team area or another receive a salary package.

3. Sports Union Attorney

A former star athlete heads most current sports unions in the sport and is supported by a layer of sports lawyers with expertise in various aspects of sports law. According to the American Bar Association, the responsibilities of a sports lawyer working with a sports union involve a proven knowledge in contractual law, Constitutional civil rights, federal and state tax codes, worker’s compensation laws, and local, state, and federal regulations regarding union representation. Union sports lawyers work under a retainer with new counsels working to clear agendas, explore contractual improvement areas, or work lobbyists.

4. Sports Arbitrator

Sports arbitrators fill a relatively new niche in the field of sports law. The advantages of an arbitration process over litigation work well in the sports arena. With an arbitration process in place, athletes can continue to work while disputing an action by management and management can enjoy the fruit of an athlete’s value during the process as well. Arbitrators are selected from a pool of respected sports lawyers retained through an arrangement by both the league and the union. Arbitrators are held to a higher degree of impartiality than representatives of either side.

5. State Agency Sports Law Attorney

Probably one the most personally satisfying careers of a sports lawyer are working with local governments to create a safe and beneficial environment for children and student-athletes to compete. Though these positions do not pay the large salaries found in other areas of sports, the compensation comes in a different and deeper package. Sports lawyers retained to improve the arenas, playing fields, and competition environment work on legislation proposals at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure the safety of children while at play and the abolishment of discrimination at any level of competition.

Related Resource: Top 20 Sport Law Programs

The rewards for those who have spent the time and energy to become a sports lawyer are as diverse as any other segment of social interplay. These examples of the top paying careers in sports law demonstrate the immense opportunities that sports lawyers have to benefit financially and to improve the lives of everyone connected to sports.